Thursday, February 25, 2016

YellowJacket Basketball: Fear the Sting!

LeTourneau University's men's and women's basketball teams are making history today.

For the first time in the university's 70-years, BOTH of the LETU basketball teams have made it into their NCAA conference tournaments in the same year and are playing on the same day!

Today at noon, our women's team will compete against Hardin-Simmons University at the Herrington Patriot Center on the campus of University of Texas at Tyler. You can watch the game through live audio and video streaming as well as keep up with the statistics here. Should they win, the women will play at the same location tomorrow (Friday, Feb. 26) at 5 p.m.

Head coach Leslie Reinecker, who is only in her second season as LETU's head women's basketball coach, and assistant coach Sheronda Powell have much to be proud of in their team. Five players were named to the American Southwest Conference All-Academic Team last year, and six earned at least a 3.0 GPA or higher during this past fall semester.

Tonight our men will take on Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. The team left Tuesday morning to make the 630-plus mile trip across the state to be there for the game that begins tonight at 7:30 p.m.

You can watch their game streaming live online here. Plus, you can also listen here: and keep up with game stats here.

Head coach Dan Miller is also in his second season as head men's basketball coach. He and assistant coach James Wallace have much to be proud of in their team. Eleven of their players earned at least a 3.0 GPA or higher during this past semester.

Local TV came out to talk to the coaches and players earlier in the week. You can see those interviews here. The men will play Friday at 7:30 if they win today.

Our YellowJacket basketball teams are representing LeTourneau University well this week. Let's give them our support. Fear the Sting!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

LETU Participates in Exclusive "Top Hawk" Program

Yesterday was an exciting day for LeTourneau University Aviation as we welcomed the delivery of a brand new Cessna Skyhawk 172S airplane, on loan to us free of charge for the next several months as part of Cessna's "Top Hawk" program.

Cessna Aircraft Company, which is a subsidiary of Textron Aviation, selected LETU as one of only four schools across the nation to participate in its "Top Hawk" program.

Painted with stripes of blue and gold and bearing our LETU shield logo on its tail, this new aircraft will visit dozens of communities around the region over the next several months - introducing many to aviation careers AND to LeTourneau University.

Everyone's focus yesterday was on the plane (and it's a beauty!) but the day was really about the partnership between LETU and Cessna.

As the only comprehensive, university-level aviation program in Texas, many place LETU aviation among the best in the nation; and the new Skyhawk illustrates that Cessna agrees.

Selection for this Top Hawk program was done through Cessna's detailed evaluation of our flight training program. We've been using Cessna aircraft in our pilot training for 20 years!

Numerous LETU students have benefited from internships at Cessna, and a significant number of LETU graduates now work for Cessna in Wichita and around the United States.

One of our aviation students, Cameron Laramee, has been selected to represent LETU in the Top Hawk Instructor internship program offered by Cessna. Cameron will join Textron Aviation's internship program this summer, in cooperation with the Textron Aviation Employees Flying Club.

During his internship, he will get exposure to business operations, lead ground school classes, and continue to build his flight hours through flying lessons and discovery flights. You may remember that Cameron won the Top Pilot Award in the 2015 Region IV National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA SAFECON) flight competition. He graduates in May with a degree in Missions Aviation.

This brand new "Top Hawk" Cessna Skyhawk gives our students the most technologically advanced flight training platform available. Students and instructors using the Top Hawk Cessna aircraft will also benefit from the latest Camera technology - courtesy of Garmin, as well as the latest Bose noise canceling headsets, courtesy of Bose.

Dr. Lunsford and first flight winner Matthew Staley
At the celebration event yesterday, aviation students vied for the opportunity to get the first flight in the new aircraft. Mission Aviation junior Matthew Staley won the honors. He is just the first of many who will benefit from Cessna's award to us.

I want to thank our Dean of Aviation Fred Ritchey, our Director of Flight Operations Laura Laster and one of our aviation students, Cullen Hippler, for the excellent work they did to make it all happen. The LETU-Cessna partnership is something we can all celebrate.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Compatibility: Christian Mission and Commitment to Science

A kind editorial in the Longview News Journal recently made the point that science and religion aren't in competition at LeTourneau University.

The newspaper pointed readers to our popular science seminars which are now underway. Lectures still to come this semester feature speakers from the UT Health Northeast, Stephen F. Austin, Rice, Baylor and Southern Methodist University campuses. Topics range from drinking water in Thailand to intersteller space travel. One of the highlights will surely be Jim Tour, esteemed chemist from Rice University speaking on "A Faith Journey: Christianity from a Scientist's Perspective."

The editorial reminded readers of LETU's Christian mission and also our recognized commitment to teaching science. The writer then concluded, "It might seem those two work at cross purposes but that isn't the case..."

Amen! Somewhere along the way, evangelical Christians have been labeled as non-intellectuals and anti-science. LETU stands as an example that this isn't true. Christianity and science are not at odds. One can be a scientist and a Jesus-follower. A student need not abandon his or her Christian faith to study the physical sciences and the application of science like engineering and aviation at LETU.

Our philosophy at LETU is that "all truth is regarded as God-given and is considered sacred. It should be pursued with diligence and received with humility." To be sure, the pursuit of truth means we will not all agree as we pursue understanding. But if we can go forward together with humility we can honor God as we seek to make sense of His creation. This combination of diligence and humility is the hallmark of studying science at a Christ-centered university like LETU.

Let's embrace our important place of leadership as a university both Christian and scientific and not conflicted. CS Lewis said it this way: "Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important." Our Christian faith is infinitely important if one sincerely seeks to understand our physical world.

Thanks to our Chemistry and Physics department for their commitment to these science seminars which add to the intellectual life of our campus and also remind the general public that science and faith are not at odds when we embrace the truth that God is the ultimate creator, sustainer and source of all truth in the universe.